Complete Streets Could Hit a Speed Bump in Milwaukee

More and more, municipalities are seeing the advantages that "complete streets" development can bring to a community. The problem can be, as we see in a post by Streetsblog Network member Urban Milwaukee, that funding mechanisms are skewed heavily to a completely different kind of planning:

2ndstreetbeforefinal_300x221.jpgCould funding mechanisms prevent this…

S. 2nd St., in Walker’s Point, is another street in Milwaukee that
is more than ready to go on a diet. In fact there is an effort by a group of local business and property owners to have S. 2nd Street in Walker’s Point rebuilt as a transformative catalyst to build momentum
in an area of Milwaukee where the disparity between potential and reality is vast… Green features such as additional street trees, rain water retention strategies, lighting powered by renewable energy, and
additional plantings have been high on the list of improvements desired, but the concept goes much further by reducing the street from four to two lanes of motor vehicle traffic, the addition of bike lanes
and curb bump outs, the use of enhanced pavement materials, and the widening of sidewalks.

2ndstreetafterfinal_300x221.jpg…from becoming this?

Despite the desires of local property and business owners, somewhere within the walls of City Hall, possibly within the Department of Public Works, or likely on the freeway to Madison this idea has encountered one large speed bump… the funding mechanism which is intended to be used to fund the repaving of S. 2nd St. In this case it appears a future 2nd St. repaving project will utilize state funds, which unfortunately come with design guidelines inconsistent with an urban environment, because these guidelines are based on traffic count baselines developed solely to facilitate motorized travel. These guidelines include things like high speed turn lanes, multiple travel lanes, wide roads, little or no streetscaping, and the elimination of “vehicular obstacles” (trees).

Elsewhere around the network, people are thinking about health: DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner reports on the significant health risks that automobile pollution poses to drivers (as well as everyone else). Baltimore Spokes links to a study that shows transit users are three times more likely to meet the daily requirement for physical activity as those who don’t use transit. And CTA Tattler has the news about Chicago Mayor Richard Daley contradicting VP Joe Biden on subway-borne swine flu.

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